Supporting our EEAST and 999 family: this week’s leadership message comes from Chief Executive, Robert Morton

Robert Morton, CEO

Here at EEAST we are all part of one big 999 family. Many people tell me that EEAST is their work or second family. So hearing sad news is always a tough thing, and like any family, it’s important that we support our colleagues through both the bad times, as well as the good. Last week, we heard the sad news that much-loved colleague Martin Manning has passed away. Martin had been with the Trust for more than 30 years, working as an ambulance care assistant in north Essex. Having spoken to Martin’s mum and manager, I can understand why he will be so sorely missed. My thoughts are very much with Martin’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.

Last week, we also said goodbye to friend and colleague Gary Lacey. Gary, who worked as an emergency care assistant from Bury St. Edmunds passed away after a long illness. My thanks to the many colleagues who offered to cover shifts so that those who wished to attend Gary’s funeral could do so. I was really pleased to see how many of Gary’s colleagues turned up to pay their respects. I also want to thank those whom participated in and led the service elements of the funeral, it was outstanding. Gary’s wife Oonagh told me how appreciative she and her family were of the support from EEAST.

I also heard about the story of Ely paramedic Lance Cox, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer recently. Lance has spent the last ten years looking after the public. Last month, his colleagues at Ely, banded together and set up a Justgiving page to raise money for Lance, his wife Claire and their three year old daughter Pip. I’m so pleased to say that they smashed the £3,000 target. Well done to all of you for your compassion and support. You can still donate to Lance’s page here.

Since my last message, we have had two devastating and senseless attacks in Manchester and London. I truly believe both areas’ emergency services are a credit to their communities after coming together to support. My thoughts are with them, the families of the victims and everyone affected. Following both attacks the security threat was raised to critical and, as of two weeks ago, back to severe. This does still mean that a terrorist attack is highly likely. It is essential that we are extra vigilant regarding the security of Trust premises, vehicles and equipment, including uniforms. Further information on how you can help is on Need to Know. We all have an important role to play in making sure we stay safe and secure, so your help and co-operation is much appreciated.

In the wake of last month’s cyber-attack, which hit more than 100 countries and particularly affected the NHS in the UK, I’m really pleased to hear that we have been given a Cyber Essentials accreditation. Cyber Essentials is a cyber security initiative from the UK government. It comprises a framework of security controls that organisations should have in place to ease the risk from internet-based threats. The assessment was underway prior to the recent global ransomware attack rather than in response to it, and it is reassuring to know that our confidence in our security measures was well founded. You can find out more details on the accreditation here, but I must say well done everyone!

Well done to two EEAST teams who were nominated for the HSJ Safety awards. The Clinical App and Bedfordshire Mental Health Street Triage scheme were both in the running for a gong, but sadly pipped at the post. Also congratulations to Harlow Community First Responders who were shortlisted for a local award.

As well as the launch of the new leadership strategy and appraisal process and ongoing work with the Wellbeing hub, our Director of People and Culture, Lindsey has also been hard at work launching the All Women in EEAST (AWE) group. This group aims to provide women within the Trust with networking opportunities, open up mentoring pathways and encourage and support personal and professional development. I sometimes don’t know how she does it, but Lindsey is doing great work on some very big projects, aiming to support and guide staff – I want to thank Lindsey publicly for the fantastic work she is doing for the Trust, the long hours she puts in (when everyone else has gone home!) and the difference that this work will eventually make to our culture and the working lives of everyone here. Both I and the executive team are proud to call Lindsey our colleague.

The Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the ‘Hub’ sets out how the Trust will develop and deliver health and wellbeing services to all of us based on a holistic approach to ‘my wellbeing’ encompassing physical, psychological and social aspects. As part of this, and in line with our strategy, the executive team will be heavily involved in providing face to face time with our staff. On the evening of the 20th June, we will be doing a 10km walk about the South Cambs area and everyone is welcome.

I also want to congratulate Sarah Ford and Emma-Louise Bowen Hillson on their amazing ambulance pull challenge last month. Not only did Sarah and Emma-Louise raise money for charity, but they competed against each other to defy gender stereotypes and promote health and wellbeing for women. They have hit their target of £999 and raised more than £1800 for Essex and Herts Air Ambulance. Well done ladies! You are the epitome of what the AWE Group are about.

And finally, we’ve had a lot of charity stories in Need to Know recently highlighting the amazing personal challenges you are facing and overcoming. This is fantastic to hear. From Wayne’s 100 mile bike ride, staff from Southend station completing tough mudder, to Student Paramedic Ryan’s 308 mile cycle from London to Paris. It’s incredible to hear. If you have anything coming up and would like to tell staff about it, please email the communications team – they would love to hear from you. Well done to everyone involved, you exude care and compassion.

Have a good week,


Published 15th June, 2017

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